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Where to Watch Bay Area July 4th Fireworks

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Get ready to celebrate the Declaration of Independence's approval by the Continental Congress, as we do every year, by grilling meats and watching things explode in spectacular fashion. San Francisco's fireworks show will get under way on Monday night at 9:30 or thereabouts from the foost of the Municipal Pier and from barges north of Pier 39.

Thankfully, San Francisco's many hills also offer vantage points sans Pier 39's total body crush, if you're OK with doing a little hiking and carting around a blanket and provisions. You could also see non-sanctioned fireworks displays in the Mission. And Angel Island or Treasure Island offer great views, too, if you have the stamina for a ferry or car trip.

Below, a map of where we think you should plop down a lawn chair and ogle the fireworks. Enjoy.

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1. Pier 7

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520 The Embarcadero
San Francisco, CA

This isn't the type of spot where you plop down a couple of lawn chairs and crack open a beer, but it will have an amazing view of the fireworks that are set off from the foot of the Municipal Pier and from barges north of Pier 39.

2. Indian Rock Park

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950 Indian Rock Ave
Berkeley, CA 94707

There's a volcanic rock that's approximately 11 million years old in the middle of a residential neighborhood in the Berkeley hills. When you climb to the top of it, you get an unobstructed view of the Bay Area.

3. West Bluffs Picnic Center

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1199 East Beach
San Francisco, CA 94129
(415) 561-7690

This Crissy Field picnic area is great for large groups who want to make a day of it. There are picnic tables and a large lawn to sprawl out on for the show. From here the view of the Golden Gate Bridge, the Marin Headlands, and Angel Island is breathtaking.

4. California Hornblower

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If you want to get dolled up and not have to worry about scoring a comfortable seat, we suggest checking out Hornblower's Fourth of July San Francisco Belle Cruise. For $154 per adult (plus tax, service charge, and landing fee), you get a three-and-a-half-hour cruise, a dinner buffet, a hosted wine and beer bar (cash bar for cocktails), live DJ entertainment, and an up-close and awesome view of the fireworks show.

5. Angel Island State Park

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Angel Island State Park
Tiburon, CA 94920
(415) 435-5390
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A Blue & Gold Fleet ferry leaves San Francisco at 5:40 pm (there's also a 5 pm departure from Tiburon). Included in the $49 fare ($35 for kids) is shuttle service on Angel Island between Ayala Cove and Battery Ledyard. The island's café and oyster bar will be serving up live bluegrass, dancing, food and drinks. Visitors are advised to bring flashlights or headlamps, blankets, and portable seats.

6. Twin Peaks

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100 Christmas Tree Point Rd
San Francisco, CA 94114
(415) 831-6331
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If you're looking to get your romance on, we suggest driving up to the top of Twin Peaks. Bring a blanket. The location will provide (Karl permitting) views of not just San Francisco's fireworks, but also Berkeley's and Sausalito's bombastic fiery displays.

7. Shoreline Park

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This small patch of grass in Tiburon will provide breathtaking views of the fireworks. Grab a blanket and a cooler and head over early, as this particular spot fills up fast.

8. San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park

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Beach St
San Francisco, CA 94123
(415) 447-5000
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Stake out a spot on the grassy area next to the Aquatic Park. Since this is a tourist destination, we suggest showing up early if you want to nab a sweet spot.

9. Cavallo Point

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Fort Baker
Sausalito, CA 94965
(415) 339-4700

Spectacular views of the bay and ample parking make this spot, in the shadow of the Golden Gate Bridge, ideal for watching the fireworks. Be sure to bring blankets and flashlights.

10. Berkeley Marina

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From noon to 10 pm, the Berkeley Marina is throwing an all-day event with a giant slide, dragon boat rowing, pony rides, a bounce house, crafts, face painting, and food trucks. Mini-train rides and water bubble balls will also be on hand. At 9:35, fireworks will go off from a barge south of the Berkeley Pier.

11. Coit Tower

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1 Telegraph Hill Blvd
San Francisco, CA 94133
(415) 362-0808
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If hiking is your thing, we suggest making the trek up to Coit Tower for the fireworks show, as we're sure the parking lot will be filled up well before dusk.

12. Treasure Island

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(415) 274-0660
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If you can stomach some bridge traffic, head over to Treasure Island. The island's west side has plenty of lawn for you to cozy up on and watch the fireworks from afar.

13. Pier 39

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Beach St
San Francisco, CA 94133
(415) 705-5500
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herman's Wharf is the ultimate tourist destination, so if you're one of the few brave locals who are set on the wharf as your place to view the show, we suggest showing up as early as possible to stake out a spot.

14. San Francisco Art Institute

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800 Chestnut St
San Francisco, CA 94133

Panoramic views of the bay make SFAI the perfect place to chill out and watch the fireworks this 4th of July. As some of you may know, winds on the roof terrace can be strong, so make sure to layer up.

15. Bernal Heights Park

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10 Bernal Heights Blvd
San Francisco, CA 94110

If you want a low-key outing and don't mind a faraway, zoomed-out view of the action, head on up to Bernal Heights Park. The crowd will be more neighborhoody and chill than anything happening on the waterfront. All the usual advice about blankets and flashlights applies—and be careful picking your way down those narrow paths if you've had a few. Photo: Telstar Logistics

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1. Pier 7

520 The Embarcadero, San Francisco, CA

This isn't the type of spot where you plop down a couple of lawn chairs and crack open a beer, but it will have an amazing view of the fireworks that are set off from the foot of the Municipal Pier and from barges north of Pier 39.

520 The Embarcadero
San Francisco, CA

2. Indian Rock Park

950 Indian Rock Ave, Berkeley, CA 94707

There's a volcanic rock that's approximately 11 million years old in the middle of a residential neighborhood in the Berkeley hills. When you climb to the top of it, you get an unobstructed view of the Bay Area.

950 Indian Rock Ave
Berkeley, CA 94707

3. West Bluffs Picnic Center

1199 East Beach, San Francisco, CA 94129

This Crissy Field picnic area is great for large groups who want to make a day of it. There are picnic tables and a large lawn to sprawl out on for the show. From here the view of the Golden Gate Bridge, the Marin Headlands, and Angel Island is breathtaking.

1199 East Beach
San Francisco, CA 94129

4. California Hornblower

California

If you want to get dolled up and not have to worry about scoring a comfortable seat, we suggest checking out Hornblower's Fourth of July San Francisco Belle Cruise. For $154 per adult (plus tax, service charge, and landing fee), you get a three-and-a-half-hour cruise, a dinner buffet, a hosted wine and beer bar (cash bar for cocktails), live DJ entertainment, and an up-close and awesome view of the fireworks show.

5. Angel Island State Park

Angel Island State Park, Tiburon, CA 94920

A Blue & Gold Fleet ferry leaves San Francisco at 5:40 pm (there's also a 5 pm departure from Tiburon). Included in the $49 fare ($35 for kids) is shuttle service on Angel Island between Ayala Cove and Battery Ledyard. The island's café and oyster bar will be serving up live bluegrass, dancing, food and drinks. Visitors are advised to bring flashlights or headlamps, blankets, and portable seats.

Angel Island State Park
Tiburon, CA 94920

6. Twin Peaks

100 Christmas Tree Point Rd, San Francisco, CA 94114

If you're looking to get your romance on, we suggest driving up to the top of Twin Peaks. Bring a blanket. The location will provide (Karl permitting) views of not just San Francisco's fireworks, but also Berkeley's and Sausalito's bombastic fiery displays.

100 Christmas Tree Point Rd
San Francisco, CA 94114

7. Shoreline Park

Tiburon, CA

This small patch of grass in Tiburon will provide breathtaking views of the fireworks. Grab a blanket and a cooler and head over early, as this particular spot fills up fast.

8. San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park

Beach St, San Francisco, CA 94123

Stake out a spot on the grassy area next to the Aquatic Park. Since this is a tourist destination, we suggest showing up early if you want to nab a sweet spot.

Beach St
San Francisco, CA 94123

9. Cavallo Point

Fort Baker, Sausalito, CA 94965

Spectacular views of the bay and ample parking make this spot, in the shadow of the Golden Gate Bridge, ideal for watching the fireworks. Be sure to bring blankets and flashlights.

Fort Baker
Sausalito, CA 94965

10. Berkeley Marina

Berkeley, CA

From noon to 10 pm, the Berkeley Marina is throwing an all-day event with a giant slide, dragon boat rowing, pony rides, a bounce house, crafts, face painting, and food trucks. Mini-train rides and water bubble balls will also be on hand. At 9:35, fireworks will go off from a barge south of the Berkeley Pier.

11. Coit Tower

1 Telegraph Hill Blvd, San Francisco, CA 94133

If hiking is your thing, we suggest making the trek up to Coit Tower for the fireworks show, as we're sure the parking lot will be filled up well before dusk.

1 Telegraph Hill Blvd
San Francisco, CA 94133

12. Treasure Island

San Francisco, CA 94130

If you can stomach some bridge traffic, head over to Treasure Island. The island's west side has plenty of lawn for you to cozy up on and watch the fireworks from afar.

13. Pier 39

Beach St, San Francisco, CA 94133

herman's Wharf is the ultimate tourist destination, so if you're one of the few brave locals who are set on the wharf as your place to view the show, we suggest showing up as early as possible to stake out a spot.

Beach St
San Francisco, CA 94133

14. San Francisco Art Institute

800 Chestnut St, San Francisco, CA 94133

Panoramic views of the bay make SFAI the perfect place to chill out and watch the fireworks this 4th of July. As some of you may know, winds on the roof terrace can be strong, so make sure to layer up.

800 Chestnut St
San Francisco, CA 94133

15. Bernal Heights Park

10 Bernal Heights Blvd, San Francisco, CA 94110

If you want a low-key outing and don't mind a faraway, zoomed-out view of the action, head on up to Bernal Heights Park. The crowd will be more neighborhoody and chill than anything happening on the waterfront. All the usual advice about blankets and flashlights applies—and be careful picking your way down those narrow paths if you've had a few. Photo: Telstar Logistics

10 Bernal Heights Blvd
San Francisco, CA 94110